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The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride (original 1973; edition 1984)

by William Goldman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,014340129 (4.28)2 / 534
Title:The Princess Bride
Authors:William Goldman
Info:Del Rey (1984), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

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1970s (10)

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English (334)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (340)
Showing 1-5 of 334 (next | show all)
Z loved it . . .the story structure kind of blew his mind. HATED Buttercup's Baby and didn't finish it. ( )
  beckydj | Sep 8, 2015 |
Reading this book was like taking medicine. Not fun. ( )
  valorrmac | Aug 19, 2015 |
This story within a story was fun to read. Goldman sets it up that he is doing an abridgement of the story - just the good parts. The author is present and explains the background, his choices, and at times his life. The other story is about true love and overcoming obstacles, building a family.
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie version! ( )
  ewyatt | May 26, 2015 |
I hate to say this, but this book almost only got 2 stars from me. Nothing to do with the story concept. That I still love, but I hate how the author butchered it. To start, the first 40 plus pages in nothing but an introduction and the authors first chapter, which has to cover how he got into the story, how he liked sports, how he became an author, and movie writer..blah blah blah. Chapter one should not be your autobiography! So, 40 some odd pages later, I get to the bottom line. Mr Goldman did not like the original story, since it isn't a children's story, therefor he must eliminate a good chunk of the book. All this because his dad only told him about the exciting parts. So fine, whatever, longest intro and 'nonfictional' prologue ever. But then, a few pages into the actual story, I come across more author interjections that explain more of why he did not like what the author had to say and he didn't get where the author was going. For two pages, in the middle of the story, I had to read Mr Goldman's personal interjections. Well, this continues throughout the book. So basically, the author loved how his dad told a story, within a book, so he though he should take over the book, and rewrite it
So, enough ranting there. Honestly, skip this book to avoid the authors personal rant issues, and just watch the movie. You get the story, all the great lines, without all Mr Goldman's personal issues.
Bottom line, love the story but really unhappy with how the author handled this book. ( )
  jljaina | May 16, 2015 |
**spoiler alert** I grew up loving this movie so I knew that I was going to love the book. I like William Goldman's witty tone in his explanations for taking out certain parts, and some parts of the book he reacts to what just happened in the story:

"Look. (Grownups skip this paragraph)...There's death coming up, and you better understand this: some of the wrong people die. Be ready for it. This isn't Curious George Uses the Potty. Nobody warned me and it was my own fault (you'll see what I mean in a little) and that was my mistake, so I'm not letting it happen to you. The wrong people die, some of them, and the reason is this: life is not fair. Forget all the garbage your parents put out" (218).

There is quite a lot of input and made me think of how Kuzko randomly butts in to narrate parts of "The Emperor's New Groove" (for example, the first 50 pages of the book are just introduction, but it did provide a behind the scenes point of view of the actors in the movie), it's witty and well-intended, but quite lengthy at times, so just beware.

The book is always going to be better than the movie, but I was surprised at how it precisely followed a majority of the book, particularly the dialogue. However, I was excited to find parts of the book that were not in the movie. Buttercup always seemed like a whiny damsel in distress, but in the book she is still a bit whiny but more driven by fear. The biggest example I found is the mistake she makes out of fear by trusting Prince Humperdink not to harm Westley if she goes with the Prince:

"The truth," said Westley, "is that you would rather live with your Prince than die with your love"
"I would rather live than die, I admit it"
"We were talking of love, madam." There was a long pause.
Then Buttercup said it:
"I can live without love."
And with that she left Westley alone...Westley watched it all. He stood silently at the edge of the Fire Swamp. It was darker now, but the flame spurts behind him outlined his face. He was glazed with fatigue. He had been bitten, cut, gone without rest, had assaulted the Cliffs of Insanity. had saved and taken lives. He had risked his world, and now it was walking away from him, hand in hand with a ruffian prince. (199-200)

Far more devastating to read than the brief 30 seconds this played out in the movie, but we later find out that Buttercup doesn't completely love Westley until she realizes her mistake and they have been separated for some time, which I had not realized watching the movie.

What also didn't make it into the movie was the mini-adventure that Inigo and Fezzik take to rescue The Man in Black (Westley). I really enjoyed reading the mini-adventure because it shows more of the characters of Inigo and Fezzik (who knew a giant could be afraid of so many things?) as well as shows more of the strength of their friendship, besides their love for rhyming:

"Fezzik reached the top of the wall and started carefully climbing down the other side. "I understand everything," he said.
"You understand nothing, but it really doesn't matter, since what you mean is, you're glad to see me, just as I'm glad to see you because no more loneliness."
"That's what I mean," said Fezzik." (254).

I think their friendship is so sweet, even though they are oppposites, it ends up balancing out their fears where one can be the hero for the other. For example, Fezzik is huge and strong, Inigo is quick yet small. When Inigo is trying to be quick to reach Westley but is stuck in a crowd, Fezzik bellows and people move. When they are going through the levels of the Zoo of Death and Fezzik is afraid of the "creepers", "slitherers", and most of all bats, Inigo fights them all off for him. Fezzik is more even-tempered, but Iniqo can be explosive. Fezzik has low self-esteem, Inigo is confident. They end up saving each other's lives in the Zoo of Death, but do it as a team, which I thought really defined their friendship.

"Inigo looked at him. 'You mean you'll forgive me completely for saving your life if I completely forgive you for saving mine?'
'You're my friend, my only one.'
'Pathetic, that's what we are,' Inigo said.

All in all, a very fun read. The emotional roller coaster (if you've watched the movie, you already know mostly what to expect) and romance is marginal that it is appropriate for kids. William Goldman talks at length about how his father read this to him when he was 10, and he wanted to read it to his son when he was 10, so I'm going to take a guess here and say it's appropriate for ages 10+. There is no foul language, however, expect foul play. ( )
1 vote JanJanFreeman | May 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 334 (next | show all)
The book is clearly a witty, affectionate send-up of the adventure-yarn form, which Goldman obviously loves and knows how to manipulate with enormous skill.

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Goldmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, NormanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manomivibul, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!
Death cannot stop true love. It can just delay it for a while.
As you wish.
Life isn't fair. It's just fairer that death.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.
Haiku summary
Fractured fairy tale
"Life's not fair" is the point, but
True love never dies.

A farm boy pirate
saves his damsel in distress
and fights for true love.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345348036, Mass Market Paperback)

The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

Goldman frames the fairy tale with an "autobiographical" story: his father, who came from Florin, abridged the book as he read it to his son. Now, Goldman is publishing an abridged version, interspersed with comments on the parts he cut out.

Is The Princess Bride a critique of classics like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers, that smother a ripping yarn under elaborate prose? A wry look at the differences between fairy tales and real life? Simply a funny, frenetic adventure? No matter how you read it, you'll put it on your "keeper" shelf. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:01 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

A writers views on life and art are revealed in his effort to edit the children's classic that shaped his literary ambitions.

(summary from another edition)

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